Decriminalization of Marijuana in Birmingham, AL

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Drug laws have consistently served as vehicles for criminalizing Black people and communities, and have been used as tools of racial profiling, discriminatory enforcement, violence, extortion and abuse, and mass incarceration of Black people. They have also consistently been used to exclude and deny Black people access to housing, employment, education, family, and community, while simultaneously failing to address the needs of people struggling with addiction and survival.

In the U.S. today millions of people are or have been in jails, prisons, on probation or parole for possession of drugs, many of them for possession of small quantities of drugs for personal or recreational use.

Maria Morris, senior supervising staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, says a key component of the system that sentences nonviolent offenders to life in prison is the fact that Alabama has one of the most aggressive approaches to marijuana offenders of any state in the nation.

Decriminalizing marijuana is an essential first step in ending the decades-long racial disparities in Alabama's criminal justice system.  

It’s time to end the injustice, the unfair burden on communities across America, and the massive waste of taxpayer dollars occurring because of our antiquated marijuana laws.

Birmingham Residents Request 

  1. Local ordinance decriminalizing the possession of marijuana under one ounce a non-arrestable offense and lower the fine to a maximum ticket of $75.
  2. Police and prosecutors should enact and enforce policies barring arrest for marijuana possession under one ounce effective immediately after ordinance is passed.  


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